Thursday Caterwaul: Florida Panthers GameDay Open Forum
Cats look to close out home slate with a win.
Forget the NFL Draft, the new Dolphins uniforms, and the Heat vs. Bucks; the Florida Panthers play host for the final time tonight, welcoming the Toronto Maple Leafs to Sunrise in the penultimate regular-season game for both clubs. The Cats will be looking to avoid getting swept by the Leafs, who have already wrapped up a playoff spot but still have an outside chance of capturing the Northeast Division crown. Toronto blanked the Panthers here, back on February 18th, by a 3-0 count and then took the second tilt, 3-2 at the Air Canada Centre, on March 26th.
The Maple Leafs, who were beaten 5-2 in Tampa Bay last night, come into tonight's game 5-4-1 in their last ten outings, so they will be looking for a good performance to build on heading into their season-finale at home against Montreal on Saturday night. There is a chance those two teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs, which would lead to a complete media circus in Eastern Canada.
The Panthers are coming off a solid 3-2 win over the New York Rangers, which snapped a six-game losing streak, their last time out. Florida has little to play for, other than pride and perhaps dropping the Maple Leafs down a seed or two, although winning tonight and Saturday in Tampa Bay coupled with two Colorado losses in regulation would allow them to escape the league's basement.
Phil Kessel enters tonight's game on a hot streak with 6 points in his last three games, so as per usual, the Cats will need to keep a close eye on him. Joffrey Lupul has goals in three-straight games.
For all things Leafs, pull the strings at Pension Plan Puppets. The LBC Live GameThread will crank up around 7ish.